Tag: Godzilla

The Guilty Pleasure of Godzilla Movies: A Retrospective.

by Reality’s Frank

Recently, as I progressed through the marathon of my entire DVD collection, I’ve come to the “G” section and watched every Godzilla movie in order of production with only three exceptions: “Godzilla King Of The Monsters,” “Godzilla’s Revenge,” and the 1998 American Godzilla. I skipped Godzilla KOTM because it’s just “Gojira” with a few new scenes featuring Raymond Burr added in. “Godzilla’s Revenge” was skipped because frankly it’s embarrassing to watch, being more focused on some stupid kid who fantasizes about being friends with Godzilla’s son, Manilla (pronounced “Meen-ya”). And finally the American Godzilla was skipped because if it were a food, it would be Campbell’s Cream of Asshole Soup.

Now interestingly enough, watching the entire Godzilla franchise reveals no less than four separate continuities or timelines. This is played out with time travel, re-launches, and flat-out mistakes. And so, in the interest of fun and completely wasted time, I thought I’d explore this.

The first movie, “Gojira,” was released in Japan in 1954. It was groundbreaking stuff. Naturally there were many giant monster movies in that time period, such as “King Kong” and “Earth Vs. The Spider,” but “Gojira” revolutionized the genre. Before, the monsters had always been obvious visual effects: Kong was a puppet brought to life with stop-go animation, while The Spider was literally just close-up footage of a normal spider superimposed in the movie alongside the rest of the actors and backgrounds. But “Gojira” was completely different. In “Gojira,” the monster was a guy in a rubber suit tromping around a fully detailed miniature city which ensured two things: the monster would always be in scale to his surroundings, and the monster could really interact with his environment.

Now the most important fact to take away from “Gojira” in regards to this piece is the fact that at the end of the movie, Gojira is clearly killed and completely destroyed. I mean he’s gone, wiped out, finito. Elvis has left the building. One year later, (and Toho was good at turning out a new movie on a yearly basis) Toho released a sequel called “Godzilla Raids Again.” Blah blah details, blah blah plot, and in the end Godzilla is lured into a box canyon on a glacial island and buried under hundreds of tons of ice, end of movie.

After GRA was released, Toho decided to give this particular monster a break to focus on other movies such as Mothra and Rodan. But one noteworthy thing happened during this time: “Godzilla Raids Again” was re-titled “Gigantis the Fire Monster” for the American release, even though this was clearly bullshit. The new dialogue written for the English dubbed version suggests that Gigantis is a different monster than Gojira with a completely different origin, with a bunch of crappy stock footage thrown in to back up the history of the monsters, but fortunately this was overlooked and never mentioned again.

Seven years later, Toho remembered that they really liked making money, so they decided to go back to what they knew worked and produced “King Kong Vs. Godzilla.” This movie was primarily stupid, especially considering the original script was actually supposed to be about a gigantic Frankenstein monster, but was changed at the last minute to Kong. But it did set the tone of the movies from then on. Every Godzilla movie that came out over the next thirteen years, from “King Kong Vs. Godzilla” to “Terror of Mechagodzilla,” was done according to the funky 60’s and 70’s film making style, with ridiculous music and some really idiotic camera work. However, the continuity of the series remained fairly constant, with a few slips here and there but no glaring contradictions.

After “Terror of Mechagodzilla,” Toho once again decided to put Godzilla on hiatus for another ten years until 1985, when they released a movie alternately called “Godzilla,” “Godzilla Returns,” or “Godzilla ’85.” This movie kick-started the second continuity in which every movie since the first “Gojira” was completely forgotten about, much like how “Superman Returns” disregards parts 3 and 4. In “Godzilla ’85” the new monster goes back to his roots, he’s no longer the protector of the Earth who frequently teamed up with other monsters and performed victory dances, instead he’s once again a terror who appears from the sea to destroy Tokyo and to feed on the energy from the nuclear power plants.

So now Toho had finally deleted the lasting embarrassment of the films from the 60’s and 70’s by striking them all from the record, just like pretty much everything in the “Highlander” franchise after the second movie, and yet they STILL never mention where this new Godzilla comes from as the first Gojira was still quite dead.

This new Godzilla lasted until 1991 when Toho released “Godzilla Vs. King Ghidorah.” This is the movie that not only kick-starts the third continuity, but also further confuses the series. In this movie, time travelers from the 2200’s come back to present day Japan to warn of an impending attack by Godzilla that will completely destroy the entire country, so they convince the nation’s leaders to let them take a small group of scientists and journalists back in time with them to 1945 near the end of the second world war. It is here for the first time that we see Godzilla’s true origin: he was an actual T-Rex that defended the Japanese soldiers by scaring away the American troops, although he was badly injured in the process.

The Japanese soldiers were then recalled from the island, and the time travelers, now able to work unnoticed, transported the dinosaur to another island, theorizing that if the dinosaur were on a different island further from the testing site of the A-bomb, he wouldn’t be subjected to the radiation that caused him to mutate into Godzilla. The time travelers, in the process, leave behind three little monsters called Doraks that are intended to receive the radiation instead and turn into Ghidorah. Upon returning to the present, Godzilla appears to no longer exist (so how do they even remember him?) but now Japan has been terrorized by Ghidorah all this time.

It turns out the future people can control Ghidorah and intend to use him to destroy Japan because in the future, Japan has become so prosperous that they’ve bought up nearly half the countries in the world. BUT (I told you this would get confusing) the people in the present decide to try to find the dinosaur and subject him to a new dose of radiation to make a NEW Godzilla, only to discover that the dinosaur has already been irradiated by a sunken submarine and become Godzilla anyway. This is where all of the previous continuity goes to shit. According to this new timeline, this third Godzilla is actually the first Godzilla because now even the first Gojira never happened. Also, because he was mutated with modern radiation, Godzilla is even bigger and meaner than ever before.

Oh but we’re not done yet! In 1993 we got “Godzilla Vs. Mechagodzilla 2” where now MG is built by humans instead of aliens, and a new Manilla is introduced, although he’s now just referred to as Baby. This movie sets the stage for “Godzilla Vs. Spacegodzilla” the following year. Baby has gotten a lot bigger and the appearance of Spacegodzilla confuses the timeline even more because he’s supposed to be caused by one of two possible ways in which Godzilla DNA made it into space: either by the destruction of Biollante (a plant monster created by combining a rose with Godzilla DNA), or it was carried into space by Mothra who was on his way to deflect a meteor that would destroy the Earth in 1999, neither or which happened now because that particular Godzilla had been erased from history.

In 1995 “Godzilla Vs. Destroyah” tried to once and for all bring some closure to the whole mess by killing off the new/original Godzilla with a surprisingly brilliant idea: Godzilla’s heart, which is basically a nuclear reactor that powers his atomic breath, is starting to melt down, causing his body to glow red with the nearly 1200 degree (C) heat. The danger involved with this is that if Godzilla’s heart finally does melt down, the heat generated would be sufficient to ignite the Earth’s atmosphere and destroy the planet. Unfortunately there’s one more problem with the timeline that the writers overlooked: Destroyah is supposed to be some microorganism mutated by the oxygen destroyer used in the first Gojira, even though the timeline had been changed in “Godzilla Vs. King Ghidorah” so that the oxygen destroyer was never used.

Anyway, in the end Godzilla finally does melt down, but the military manages to cool him down just enough with a new type of “0 degree laser” so he doesn’t destroy the Earth, and Godzilla jr. is now set to take over.

Four years later, “Godzilla 2000” came out with a brand new looking Godzilla which I refer to as “Beefcake Godzilla” because of his thicker, more muscular neck. This begins the fourth timeline. Nothing of any major importance happens in this movie except to establish the new monster design, which carries over to the next movie, “Godzilla Vs. Megaguirus” which again is of no major importance except to sell tickets for another monster fight.

Oddly enough the next year Toho shifted gears and gave us a movie with the long-winded title of “Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah, Giant Monsters All-out Attack.” It’s hard to understand where this movie fits in with the rest of the series because so many things have been blatantly changed. First off we have a different looking Godzilla from the last two movies, more like the classic Godzilla style except he has completely white eyes. Next they took Baragun and King Ghidorah and arbitrarily changed their origins, so now they’re guardian monsters alongside Mothra, even though in the past, Baragun was an enemy of Mothra; and Ghidorah was, of course, an enemy of the entire planet, first coming from space, and then from the future.

In the end, all three guardian monsters are defeated and Godzilla is destroyed in a very clever way with a drill missile fired from inside his body causing his atomic breath to blast through his own neck and blow up his body. I guess this must be a stand-alone story because none of it is ever mentioned again and the following movie goes back to the Beefcake Godzilla.

This time, in “Godzilla Against Mechagodzilla,” Toho puts the final nail in the coffin of the series’ continuity for anyone who was blissfully unaware of the timeline seperation (which confused the hell out of me for quite a while until I started this analysis.) A new Mechagodzilla is built with the bones of the first Godzilla that was killed with the oxygen destroyer in “Gojira.” Unfortunately, during the first confrontation, Godzilla’s roar awakens the original Gojira’s DNA that was used to make the DNA based computers in Mechagodzilla, causing him to go wild and attack the city until his power supply runs out.

This leads directly to the next movie, “Godzilla: Tokyo SOS” in which the two fairies from Infant Island come to tell the humans that Mothra is pissed that Godzilla’s bones were disturbed and that they must be returned to the bottom of the sea or else Mothra will destroy the city himself. Blah blah fighting, blah blah twin Mothra larva, blah blah Mechagodzilla becomes sentient doesn’t want to fight anymore, and Beefcake Godzilla is finally defeated and carried to the bottom of the sea tightly strapped to Mechagodzilla.

Lastly of course, until “Shin Godzilla,” the big 50th anniversary movie, was “Godzilla: Final Wars,” which is FUCKING AWESOME! Aliens from Planet X come to Earth, brainwash all the monsters and set them on a rampage, so the remaining humans have to free Godzilla from his icy prison at the South Pole and lead him around the world to defeat the entire roster of his enemies, including the American Godzilla from ’98, now called Zilla. Zilla dies like a bitch.

Finally, we have a new series of American Godzilla movies, dubbed the “Monsterverse” which in all honesty I don’t care for, and as before Toho responded with something incredible: “Shin Godzilla.”

“Shin Godzilla,” or “Godzilla Resurgence,” has an amazing premise: what if Godzilla appeared for the first time today? The new design is outstanding, Godzilla has some amazing new abilities, and the story is a cutting critique of the Japanese government being hopelessly mired in policy and red tape. SEE THIS MOVIE!

I’ve always enjoyed Godzilla movies, with the goofy monster costumes, the hokey music, the wanton destruction of innocent pagodas in nearly every movie, and the sappy morals; it’s always fun to just let myself get drawn into the story and suspend disbelief. People today are a little too cynical for their own good, myself included. There’s no shame in admitting, even to ourselves, that there’s nothing wrong with putting on a movie or a show with no intellectual value and throwing a bag of popcorn in the microwave. So go watch something stupid, it’s good for you. As I always say, when you can truly appreciate and enjoy bad movies, it allows you to more fully appreciate the good ones.

I love trains, but they always go straight to my thighs!
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Godzilla: King of the Monsters (the new one, because names are hard) A Raiders of the Lost Flicks Review

by Adam M. Wilcox

Seeing Godzilla King of the monsters split my personality in two. Not because of the confusing name. (Godzilla originally released as ゴジラ Gojira in Japan, in 1954, and then re-edited with Raymond Burr as master of exposition for America and released as Godzilla: King of the Monsters, even though it has only one monster.) No, because the five year old me, wants to say OMG the monsters are so cool, and then Godzilla was like RAAAARRRRRR, and Monster Zero, was like BLAM!!! and then…omg it was amazing!!! BEST MOVIE EVER! Then the adult in me is like, yeah it was fun…but THINGS!

Godzilla tries Ma po tofu, Sichuan with Sriracha Sauce for the first time. Nailed it!

Those things being the script is running on some serious first draft type fumes. Literally anything to get the monsters together. The impressive cast which boasts personal favorites such as Ken Wantanabe, Sally Hawkins, Bradley Whitford, Vera Farmiga, Millie Bobby Brown, O’Shea Jackson Jr., and Kyle Chandler, despite the scripts best efforts to give them something desperately to do, are there to basically shout exposition to the audience. It might have been better off to just have an announcer with a famous gravelly voice just say: “ROUND 1, LET THEM FIGHT”, but you get the idea. Good actors, bad script. Script is there only because something has to get these monsters fighting.

That moment when you show up for Season 3 of Stranger Things, and realize your on the set of a Godzilla movie. The director goes with it, and the studio just runs with it to save themselves from embarrassment.

In regards to the monsters, I think the movie does a good job respecting these creatures. When they show up, it’s a huge deal, and everyone is excited. It’s basically all star wrestling with kaiju, but this movie refers to them as titans which works, because it ties nicely back to several versions of ancient folklore which the movie goes to great lengths to explain.

Rodan VS The X-Jet. Well at least THIS movie made money. Too Soon?!

The best parts are when these creatures do show up, and the special effects ARE gorgeous, but I do feel like I could have used some more daytime fights, because Kong: Skull Island did those much better. Speaking of Skull Island, did you know we are three films into an expanded universe now? That’s right, there multiple call backs to Monarch which is the bad good guys from Skull Island, depending on how you look at an organization that seems to have deep pockets and does nothing more than build expensive facilities around monsters just waiting for them to wake up and destroy everything. And that brings me to my first minor gripe. All bs aside, where do these funds come from? I realize there is suspension of disbelief around a movie with giant monsters using Washington D.C. as a giant Octagon, but still…this much money could have paid for some artificial titans to be built, oh wait that is the plot for Pacific Rim…my bad. Nevermind.

“Come at me bro!”

The script is basically, Vera Farmiga, and Kyle Chandler lost a kid in 2014, when Godzilla beat up whats his face in the last movie. They split up. Kyle takes pictures of tigers in the wild, and Vera Farmiga works for Monarch. She basically makes fancy duck calls, that wake up ancient sleeping lizards. No way that will ever go wrong! Well, all of them get woke up at one point, and the world is turned into chaos faster than you can say congress!

Meanwhile, Washington D.C., Election Day, 2020…

That is where the fun begins! I would not classify this one as disaster porn, the world mostly becomes a giant backdrop for these monsters to square off. While I would have prefered a little less rain and snow, the monster fights were fun. A true summer popcorn flick. At no point do you ever have to think too much, but I would not classify it as insulting either.

You know it’s all fun and games until someone loses and eye. Keep an eye on your children at Disney theme parks people!!!

One thing that always drives me nuts in most monster movies, and if you have ever seen even one Asylum movie, you will get this reference. It is a trope that I have not yet named, where most of the cast carries the movie by shouting exposition to a computer monitor of some sort, so that the audience knows why the monsters are doing stuff. This movie does SOME of that, but I will give it a partial credit for at least pretending to give the cast something to do from time to time, even if it comes off as a bit weak. Also, if you liked the scale from the Gareth Edwards 2014 film, I think they played off of that nicely with this one as well.

Godzilla: “These June mosquitos are a bitch!”

I did stay for the post credit extras. While there ARE several mentions of Kong in the movie, there was no big teaser for Godzilla VS Kong. I won’t spoil the post credit scene, but I will say that if you are doing the post movie pee pee dance like I was, you can probably skip it, and not have to worry.

SPOILER: Millie Bobby Brown does not beat up Whitney Houston in this movie.

I grade everything on the cheese curd scale, so I have to remove two points, one for a really lame script, and another for having some really lackluster acting. I found it nearly impossible to really care about any of these characters or ever even feel like any of them were in any real kind of danger even when they were maybe less than a foot away from giant titans and what not. I am giving it a 3 out of 5 cheese curds. I think it is worth a look. If you liked Kong: Skull Island or you are sucker for monsters movies like I am, I think you will be entertained. However if that movie annoyed you, this probably won’t win you over either. Minor spoiler, don’t expect the gender of Godzilla to be explained. Also, Millie Bobby Brown does not beat up Whitney Houston, or get her hooked on Crack.

Check out the video review here!